Japan will provide one trillion yen for business development
Japan will provide the Philippines at least one trillion yen over the next five years for its further development, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday.
Abe, who is on an overnight official visit to the Philippines, stressed the importance Japan is giving to the country under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"I chose the Philippines as the first destination of my overseas visits of the year. This is a demonstration of the fact that I place much emphasis on our relationship with President Duterte and with the Philippines," he said in joint statements with Duterte following their bilateral meeting in Malacanang.
He said that he and Duterte agreed to cooperate for the stability of the region.
And for the development of the Philippines, the Japanese leader said, "we will create business opportunities
through ODA (official development assistance) and private sector investments which together will be in the order of one trillion yen over the next five years."
He said the joint committee on economic cooperation and infrastructure will be launched through which the private and public sectors will provide strong underpinning for nation-building.
"We will leverage Japanese technology and know-how to the fullest extent to positively cooperate for the improvement of infrastructure in Metro Manila and the whole of Philippines," he said.
The two countries also signed five memoranda of cooperation and agreements, which include a grant of 600 million yen for high-speed boats and other counter terrorism equipment for the Philippine Coast Guard.
During Duterte's visit to Japan in October last year, Japan made the pledge for the provision of high-speed boats.
Abe also vowed to cooperate with the Philippines of "relevant measures of support" in countering illegal drugs.
Japan will specifically tap, among others, the private sector to assist in the improvement of related facilities, formulation of treatment programs and in other areas, he said.
Duterte welcomed Japan's cooperation in pursuing a "comprehensive approach" in the war against illegal drug trade.
"As the Philippines pursues its campaign to destroy illegal drugs trade apparatus, we welcome the expressed interest of support measures to address the tremendous social cause of drug addiction, this includes rehabilitation," he said.
Abe said Tokyo will continue to support peace and development in Mindanao, noting that a decision has been taken to start the studies for the urban development and flood control of Davao City, the place where Duterte came from and became mayor for over two decades.
Abe is set to spend the night in Davao City for a series of activities on Friday.
Abe is the first foreign head of state to visit Davao City, and the first Duterte welcomed in Malacanang since he assumed office six months ago.
The two leaders also discussed the South China Sea issue and to work "toward resolution of regional challenges," he said.
"I welcome the fact that President Duterte is making efforts to improve the China-Philippine relations in light of the arbitral award," he added.
Other agreements that were signed, which the two leaders witnessed, were: memoranda of cooperation on low carbon growth partnership joint crediting mechanism, maritime cooperation to promote maritime safety, security and marine environment protection, proof of concept and testing of road traffic information system through data broadcasting, and loan agreement guarantee letter for Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation.
Duterte said if his visit to Tokyo last year defined the solid and strategic partnership of the two countries, Abe's visits to Manila and Davao "renew the commitment to further strengthen the solid and strategic partnership toward greater peace, progress and stability."
Duterte hosted a state banquet for Abe and the members of his delegation. Celerina Monte/ DMS